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Maybe you’ve just moved into a new area and the locals are giving you grim stories of the winter snowfall.
Or you’ve seen friends using a snow blower and wondered what all the fuss is about.
Are snow blowers really ‘all that’ or is it just another appliance that’s going to take up your valuable storage space?
In short, snow blowers are worth it if you get a significant amount of snowfall each year or have large areas that need cleared from snow. A small investment in a snow blower pays dividends in manual labor savings and risks.
However, that’s just the short answer. If you’re really weighing up your options, let’s dive into the details of when a snow blower is (or isn’t) worth it.
If you’re clearing a small area, for example a little patch of sidewalk, a manual snow shovel is going to be quicker because there’s no set up time and no need for the intensive action of a snow blower.
That’s a small type job that you can use the manual shovel for, you get in and do it and it’s done, and it’s not like you’re dealing with huge drifts of snow, just irritating small piles.
The problem arises when you have a LARGER or at least respectably sizeable area to clear. Using a manual snow shovel under those circumstances will be very time consuming and could eat up a significant part of your day.
In this situation, a snow blower is a must–have.
An online review from the user of a 2 stage 28 inch snow blower in Northeastern America mentions a snow blowing time of 45 minutes for a 70 foot driveway – from heavy snow cover down to clean driveway surface. His experience is simply one example but you’re not going to get anywhere near that type of performance and speed with a manual snow shovel.
Many other users also report significant time saving on larger areas and would never go back to doing it the manual way.
So, in terms of time commitment, the snow blower is going to save you a LOT of time – as long as the area you’re clearing is sizeable enough to warrant it.
Regular or Heavy Snowfall
If you live in an area where it snows regularly during the winter, or if you can expect heavy snowfall, then snow blowers become more and more attractive.
A snow blower has the power and snow dispersing action that a human with a snow shovel simply can’t compete with. More powerful models of snow blowers are throwing that unwanted snow about 50 feet away from you. Ask yourself if you’re in a regular or high snow area – would I be able to clear my problem snow build up as effectively with a shovel?
Unless you’re a competitive or extreme sports level snow shoveler, the realistic answer is NO.
Long Driveway or Large Pavement Area
You may live in a property with a long driveway or with a large pavement area to keep clear.
In terms of getting your vehicles clear and in and out of your property easily, the snow blower streaks ahead for performance and effort saving, particularly if it snows often or if you need ready access to vehicles at all times.
In case of emergency especially – either you’re going to need to use your car immediately or you’ll have to provide a clear path for emergency service vehicles.
Commercial, Public Use or Rental Property
If you own or are responsible for a piece of property or a building that is prone to snow cover, you could be legally obliged to keep it clear from snow build up. In cases like this, a snow blower is the obvious choice because it does large or heavily snow covered areas much quicker than a human with a shovel can.
By keeping business areas and associated through ways clear of slippery ice, snow and slush, you’re protecting both staff and customers from slip and fall accidents, damage to their vehicles and damage to their shoes, clothing and other belongings. In cases of liability, you may come out ahead if you can prove that the area concerned was kept regularly snow cleared by an efficient system like a snow blower.
In terms of legal obligation, wheelchair access ramps and access bays for emergency vehicles also have to be kept clear. Talk to your lawyer or do some online homework yourself and make sure that you’re following your local statutes to avoid a possible lawsuit or damages claim.
You also need to consider the initial expenditure on a larger model snow blower and compare this to what you will be paying in either fees to a professional snow clearing service, or in wages to staff that will be spending significant time on clearing the area manually. Once you do the math, over the long term the snow blower will probably ‘pay for itself’ many times over.
Pro – tip: In many cases, snow blowers used either partially or wholly for maintaining business premises are TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Check with your local authority or tax office.
Advancing Age or Health Problems
It’s an unfortunate fact that none of us are getting any younger! You may be using a manual snow shovel with no issues now, but what about in 15 or 20 years’ time? Are you still going to be able to keep up that level of intense physical labor in winter conditions? It’s something to think about.
If you’re not quite as sure footed these days, shoveling your property or even sidewalk may be beyond your capabilities and a snow blower can be a huge help in this regard because it’s so much less labor intensive and easier on your back.
With many models today having things like sturdy, heated handle bars and ergonomic design built in, you can support yourself via the handles and deal with large amounts of snow all without bending or twisting your joints unnecessarily.
If you’re ill, suffer from joint pain or just enjoy low intensity activity, you can even get ‘ride on’ types of snow blowers that you can sit on while the machine does all the work!
Friends and Family
Particularly for you folks living out in rural areas where very large areas need to cleared of snow – snow blowers can often become communal.
If snow blowers are shared or rotated amongst neighbors or family members the benefits are multiplied and it’s less work and expense for everybody involved.
Added to that, using a snow blower if you get the right model can be loads of fun, you’ll have a blast destroying snow banks in your path and your snow shovel will stay in the shed gathering dust! It may seem crazy, but you’ll actually start to look forward to clearing snow.
Heads Up on a Money Saving Trick
At Appliance Analysts we’re here to help you and hopefully your wallet!
Pro – tip: Don’t have the available cash right now to splurge on a brand new snow blower? Check with your local small engine repair shops – often they’ll have refurbished second hand snow blowers for about half the price of a new one.
We hope that this article has given you a sound basis to consider a snow blower purchase.
They’re extremely efficient machines and just a lot of fun to use. Anything that saves so much time and effort has to be a bonus with today’s fast paced lifestyles!
Do check out other snow blower related articles on the site, we’ve covered snow blowers quite comprehensively for you. Happy snow blowing!